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Biblical Feasts

Let’s Celebrate!!!

{image_1} Purim is the most wildly joyous of all the Jewish holidays. While it is not included in the list of feasts found in Leviticus 23, it is Bible-based, commemorating the story of Esther. My husband Tom and I have been celebrating the Levitical feasts for over 25 years, but even before we “discovered” these Feasts of the Lord, we were introduced to the feast of Purim.

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Hanukkah—A Light in the Darkness

{image_1} To much, if not all, of the Christian world, December is a very important month. It is filled with cooking, cleaning, entertaining, visiting friends and relatives…a constant flurry of activity, all focused on one holiday that acknowledges a defining moment in Christian history. For the Jewish people, December holds not one or two but eight days to celebrate events that occurred over 2,000 years ago. Hanukkah has become an integral part of the sequence of Jewish holidays celebrated annually and known as the festival cycle.

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Yom Kippur Traditions

{image_1} Each of the biblical feasts has a symbolic food associated with it—even Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the most severe fast of the year. A pre-fast feast helps worshippers make it through the 25-hour fast, which is observed much like a Shabbat (Sabbath) meal, except it is eaten before sundown. Table linens and clothing are white to symbolize the hope of sins forgiven. The best dishes are used, two candles are lit, and blessings over the wine and bread are recited. Sometimes the bread is decorated with birds to remind them that just as birds fly, so their prayers will rise quickly and be answered.

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The  Feasts of the Lord

{image_1}September–October always begins a new year for the Jewish people, but the Bible never calls these special days “Jewish” feasts. In Leviticus 23, they are referred to as the “feasts of the Lord.” Our faith life has been greatly enriched as we celebrate His feasts. We encourage you to add these feasts to your celebratory cycle.

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Tu’Bshvat: Happy New Year for Trees

{image_1}TuBshvat is Israel’s Arbor Day, every year on the fifteenth of the Jewish month of Shvat, which falls this year on January 22. Though it is not a biblical holiday, it does have its roots in biblical law, as fruit had to be tithed according to its age, so a New Year for trees was created from which the age of all trees could be calculated.

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What’s an etrog?

{image_1}Etrog is Hebrew for citron, but what’s a citron? It is not a mystery in Israel, but it is for most of the world. An etrog is a lemon-like fruit, not commonly eaten by Israelis, but used during the harvest festival of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees [citron], branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days” (Lev. 23:40). The citron and lulav (branches) are waved before the Lord to the east, west, south, and north, up and down, acknowledging that God is everywhere.

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